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In early 2020, the world changed almost overnight. We had to find new ways to connect, educate, and communicate in the wake of a global pandemic that tore at the very fabric of our communities. More than a year into the pandemic, our communities are socially distant, but remain connected by common threads of resilience.

Woven into this new community tapestry are the funeral service professionals who answered the call to serve families and communities safely and compassionately. These professionals learned the depths of their own strength when tidal waves of grief enveloped the families in their care.


More than 150 female and non-binary funeral service professionals shared how their roles to serve families with care evolved during the COVID-19 pandemic on their winning scholarship applications for the 2021 Virtual Professional Women’s Conference.

Kelly Manion analyzed, compiled and wove together the responses, which came from professionals across the US and Canada who vary in age (18-60+), and in cultural and family backgrounds.

Despite distance and adversity, these common threads add to the rich funeral service tapestry:

  • The funeral service profession is forever changed.
  • Safety first.
  • Rituals and tradition matter.
  • Technology is here to stay.
  • Grief is complicated, disenfranchised, ambiguous, and messy.
  • Self-awareness and self-care are key.
  • Connection, community, and compassion remain cornerstones when serving grieving families.

Thank you to our scholarship winners for sharing your wisdom

Thank you to the newly licensed, next-career, and experienced funeral directors; students and educators; vendor partners; and hospice professionals for sharing your experiences and wisdom.

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